How do I stop punishing my partner for my ex's crimes?
You don't trust your partner and there's no good reason for it. You know this, but you can't seem to change it.
- You check his phone.
- You shadow her to keep her "safe from creeps."
- You're constantly anxious and afraid that your partner will cheat...
Even though there's no evidence to support your fears. You can't shake the belief that the one you love will deceive you and leave you — just like your ex did.
This nightmare you've been living through is one countless others are experiencing. Even celebrity couples who seem to be perfect for each other struggle with trust. The "golden couple" from the reality TV show, The Bachelorette, have been open about a relationship challenge they're dealing with and it may sound familiar to you.
You might remember Trista and Ryan Sutter whose courtship was the focus of a past season of The Bachelorette. The couple have been married since 2003 and recently admitted that they have serious challenges with trust.
Much of their trust issues stemed from Ryan's past — specifically the devastation he felt catching his ex-girlfriend in bed with another person. Ryan couldn't seem to move beyond that past betrayal and he kept expecting Trista to act in the very same way.
It can be tough to trust again after you've been hurt by a partner who cheats. The images and raw emotions linger on long after the relationship ends, even as you start a new relationship with someone completely different.
Even if you're acutely aware of what you're doing, you can't seem to help but suspect and punish your current partner for crimes committed by your ex! Maybe the thoughts you're having make no logical sense, but they keep coming and cause you to say or do things that come off as distant, jealous and possibly paranoid too.
The responsibility is yours to admit that your mistrust is all about your ex's cheating AND then to make some changes. Ask your partner for support, but don't ask him or her to make it right for you. That's just not possible.
No matter how hard your partner tries, it's up to you to heal and come into the present moment (instead of reacting from the past).
Use these 4 trust rules to return to loving and trusting your partner:
There's so much powerful potential in a simple pause. What would be different both inside you and in your relationship if you habitually paused BEFORE speaking or taking action? Think about the number of times you've cringed to hear the words that just came from your own mouth. Wouldn't it be refreshing to give yourself the chance to decide whether or not you really actually want to say (or do) that?
A pause is nothing more than a moment or two (or more) where you just breathe and calm down so that whatever you do next, it won't be something you later regret.
2. Fact Check
Newspapers, magazines and news programs on TV and the internet are supposed to verify the stories they're about to report to the public. This is to make sure they don't perpetuate mistruths that could hurt people. We know that, unfortunately, fact-checking doesn't always happen in the media, but this doesn't mean you have to follow their bad example.
Whenever you feel anxious, jealous and suspicious, remind yourself of the facts. Review the verifiable information you have and stop fixating on your guesses and assumptions based on what your ex did.
3. Make Completions
It doesn't really matter how long ago your past relationship exploded because of your ex's cheating. If you can't trust your current partner because of your ex's crimes, there's healing for you to do.
Set aside regular time to make completions with your past so that you'll be clearer now. Depending on you, this can take many different forms. A completion can happen as you write in your journal and let out pent up grief or anger. If you enjoy painting, a completion can occur when you take out a fresh canvas and express how you feel in vivid colors.
The idea here is to get your feelings out so that you can let them go. Invite yourself to create a meaningful ritual or action to help you come to a sense of completion and release of that painful past relationship. This may take some time, so don't rush yourself, but do be sure you're moving toward completion — and not just reimmersing yourself in bitterness.
4. Be Here Now
To really learn how to trust your current partner, start practicing being present. This can feel like a sort of mind game at first.
Notice it when your thoughts wander to the past and to the betrayal you experienced or to what you fear will repeat again in the future. Gently return to the present moment. Feel your feet on the floor. Feel the breeze on your skin. See and hear everything you can in your surroundings to re-ground yourself in the now.
Creating a relationship with healthy trust, communication and connection is easier than you think. It can be as simple as consciously choosing the words you use to say what's on your mind (and in your heart).
Find out what to say — and what not to say — for a happier, loving relationship or marriage. It's all here in this free video.